The Undertaker

Todd and I, celebrating his birthday on 2/15/2022 in Nashville.

Just a short note to share that my friend and mentor, Todd Van Beck has died.

A giant in the world of funeral service is now silent and my heart aches. Quite possibly, Todd was the most recognizable name in funeral service worldwide.

Todd and I have been friends since 1982 and I simply cannot imagine having stayed in funeral service as long as I have without his inspiration and friendship.

In his honor….

The Undertaker

The midnight hour, the darkest hour
That human grief may know
Sends forth its hurried summons
And asks me to come…I go

I know not where the blow may fall
I know not for whom the bell may toll
I only know that I must go
In answer to their call

Perhaps a friend, perhaps unknown
It will be fate that turns that wheel
The tangled schemes of human life
Wind slowly on the reel

And I, I’m the undertaker
Cold blooded you’ll hear some say
Trained to the shock and chill of death
With a heart that’s cold and gray

Trained, is that what they call it?
How little they know the rest
I’m human and well understand the sorrow
That throbs in the aching breast

About Ray V.

Living between Aiken & Nashville, TN, USA, I like to share what I am looking at, thinking about or listening to. I refer to this as the view out my window. Thanks for stopping by.
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9 Responses to The Undertaker

  1. Val Boyko says:


    Liked by 2 people

  2. Very moving poem. I’m so sorry for the loss of your dear friend and mentor. May his memory be for a blessing. 🙏🩶🙏

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Esoterica says:

    Sending my deepest condolences for the loss of your friend 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so sorry, I’m sure he would appreciate your poem very much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ray V. says:

      Thank you. I didn’t write the poem, it’s over 100 years old. Todd used it often and was one of his trademarks. I also posted a 1:47 video of him leaving into and reciting it a few weeks ago. It is on my FB and Instagram pages if you wanted to see it. It reminds me of Walter Cronkite on the news.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am so sorry for your loss Ray. Losing a good friend and mentor is so hard.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ray V. says:

      Heading to Cincinnati shortly to attend the funeral. His burial will take place in Hancock, IA next week. You are correct about losing a mentor.


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